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Release Atenco Prisoners Immediately: Mexican Supreme Court Verdict

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The Mexican Supreme Court today handed down a verdict in favour of the activists of Atenco. The case involves 12 political prisoners, who have been detained since the state's violent crackdown on political protestors in Atenco in 2006. The Court ruled that the twelve political prisoners should be released immediately, concluding that false or insufficient evidence was utilized in the case against the the protesters. Judge Juan Silva Mesa commented that the charges appeared to be a backhanded way of criminalizing social protest. Activists in Atenco have been waiting for a verdict in the case for four years.

Nobel Laureate Jody Williams recently signed an open letter, distributed by the Committee for Freedom and Justice for Atenco, expressing solidarity with the people of Atenco. The letter, sent to the Ministers of the First Division of the Supreme Court, called for the immediate release of twelve political prisoners who have remained in jail since the government crackdown in 2006, with sentences of up to 112 years.

Leading up to the verdict Williams also released a video message in both English and Spanish, calling for justice for the people of Atenco.

Read the open letter and watch Jody Williams' video message below.

In May 2006, Mexican police responded with violence to protests in the town of San Salvador Atenco, killing two people, injuring many more, and indiscriminately detaining town residents and bystanders. Of the hundreds detained, at least 47 were women. Many were beaten, raped and otherwise assaulted by police while in state custody. Despite several investigations, women who were assaulted by members of state security forces during a 2006 crackdown on protestors have not seen their abusers brought to justice.

Jody Williams has made two previous trips to Mexico to meet with activists and press Mexican officials to take action for justice. In February, 11 Nobel Peace Prize winners, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, his Holiness the Dalai Lama, and all six Laureates of the Nobel Women's Initiative sent an open letter to Mexican President Calderón, demanding the release of the 12 political prisoners and justice for the women who were raped and tortured during the attack. The Nobel Women's Initiative continues to express its solidarity with the women and men of Atenco, and will continue to work for an end to impunity in the region.

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